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mulch to supress weeds around perennials

 
pollinator
Posts: 1398
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I mostly use woodchips and cardboard around perennials. This is Ok and helps for a while but I guess the woodchips do alter the soil. I have a lot of Mediterranean and dryland herbs, and they probably don't like to be mulched with woodchips. The soil there is very clayis and hard and a nightmare to weed. I would like to mulch something there to supress the weeds. The same crappy soil is around the waste water outlet and I have beautiful gingers growing there but weeding is not only difficult it is grosse. Any ideas of some weed supressing mulch? Or maybe some VERY low growing plants instead of mulch?
 
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You could try creeping thyme
 
master steward
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Low growing plants aren't going to have the same weed suppressing effect as mulch. Mulching with wood chips will improve your soil. If I were in your situation, I myself would use wood chips and pile them on thick.
 
pollinator
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I probably moved 200 yards of wood chips this season so I've been looking for something I can grow and use on my new plantings in addition to woodchips.  I've noticed that the big permaculturists seem to shift to using a lot of biomass and use wood chips when they can get them.  I'm starting to see why.  I'm on three acres and spend a majority of my time chipping.  

Initially, I will let regular lawn grass grow and use it like straw.  

I used straw on my potato beds and it is some pretty awesome stuff.  

I'm going to grow manure and grain crops and use them as mulch.   Adding a little Fukuoka to the mix

 I also like to use any rocks I find in the planting hole.  Wood chips are awesome but I think its good to mix it up as most of my chips are not ramial (sp) so the addition of some green stuff might be a good addition.  

Leaves work too as long as they compost before spring.

I have found comfrey to be very useful in suppressing weeds.  I have it planted around all of my fruit trees.

Too bad you aren't in a climate to do a banana circle around the wastewater.  I wonder if there is an alternative for your climate.

In the area that is chipped, I'm going to plant different kinds of alpine strawberry, still researching other edibles to use. so  I would say do both, mulch and plant ground cover.

I always think of something Stefan Sobkowiak said,  "if you don't plant something nature will.

Cheers Scott
 
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Sorghum/ broom corn has weed suppressant properties. You could harvest the leaves and make a mulch that would decompose quicker than wood chips.  Grown in a patch or as an accent it can be chopped and dropped, like comfery.  Right around your Mediterranean and dry land herbs you may want something more mineral than organic. Sometimes lavender is mulched with Oyster shells because it like alkaline soil,  I have used sand right around the stems/trunks of some perennials to facilitate weeding and reduce the chance of rot close to he stem.  Horticultural charcoal, biochar, or stones can also serve as a mulch. I don't like using stones, but it is up to you.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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David that is basically a lawn!!! Maybe not that bad after all. There is basically no plant other than a short clipped lawn which supresses weeds (and in the clipped lawn you don't see them)
 
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